Standardized testing can be very stressful for most students, but with the right preparation it can be a walk in the park. Before you start on any project, including the preparation for an exam, it is important to be mentally and physically prepared. Preparing for standardized tests will make it seem more familiar and less intimidating. You should try focusing on your weakest areas and take practice tests prior to taking the real thing. Test prep is effective because it is an accurate representation of what is on the actual exam, due to the formatting and content being standard year over year. Test preparation also allows you to become familiar with the format, timing, and content before taking the actual exam. Some other ways that you can prepare for a test include:

  • Getting a good night’s sleep. You never cram the night before or pull an all-nighter because it can exacerbate your nerves.
  • Eating a nutritious breakfast before the test and packing smart snacks for ongoing energy.
  • Having a positive mental attitude.
  • Reading the directions thoroughly and reading all the answers before making a choice or starting the essay.

Types of Tests

The purpose of a standardized test is to compare the performance of a broad range of students presented with the same task. Many colleges require scores from the ACT or SAT tests as a part of the admissions process. Below are a few examples of standardized tests.

ACT (American College Test) –The purpose of the ACT is to measure a high school student’s readiness for college, and provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. There are four sections in the ACT; English, Reading, Math and Science.

SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) – Similar to the ACT, the purpose of the SAT is to measure a high school student’s readiness for college, and provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. There are two sections in the SAT; Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.

PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test)- The PSAT won’t count towards your college admissions applications, but it is qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship. The PSAT is offered every year in October. The PSAT is often used as a practice test for the ACT and SAT.

HSPT (High School Placement Test) – This test is designed specifically to deal with selection and/or placement of students entering high school from various elementary schools. The HSPT has provided measures in the major skill areas as well as cognitive skill criteria resulting in the most comprehensive placement test available.

SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test) – The SSAT is an entrance exam for private middle and high schools. The SSAT measures the basic verbal, math, and reading skills students need for successful performance in independent schools.

GRE (Graduate Record Examination) – This test is a graduate-level admissions exam used by graduate school and business school programs. There three section on the GRE; Verbal, Quantitative (math), and Analytical Writing.

GMAT (Graduate Record Examination) – The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test required by many business schools. There are four sections on this test; Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal.

Ways to Study for Standardized Tests

  • Take tests practice tests that will score you and analyze your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Sign up for an in-person prep class. Test prep classes are taught by test experts or even teachers from your school if you take a prep course through school.
  • Prep online. An online test prep lets you prep when and where it suits you best, repeat lessons, or skip ahead.
  • Getting a private tutor who can help you prep for a standardized test. One-on-one tutoring sessions ensure you’ll get on the spot feedback and customized lessons to your needs and learning style.
students SAT test prep

Advantages of Standardized Test Tutoring

A tutor can serve as a mentor for the entire test preparation process. Choosing which test to take, reviewing content, practicing test strategies, and mentally preparing for the day of the test are much easier steps to take with an experienced tutor by your side, helping you through rough spots. Most students studying on their own might get discouraged easily. Tutors who are familiar with effective study habits can show students how bigger score increases tend follow small initial ones.

The Importance of Practice Tests

Practice tests are an essential part of test preparation. Practice tests are very important because test prep is less about studying and more about training. Some students have difficulty getting through an entire test, but after several practice tests not only do students get more experience in a testing environment, they also become aware of which section derail their speed and stamina. Practice tests allow students to try out different strategies to determine which are most effective. Perhaps they take more time completing one section than another, and they decide to leave that section for last, in order to be able to complete what they do know first, or vice versa.

Preparing for a standardized test can be hard, but you don’t need to prep for it alone. Contact a tutor in your area who can provide personalized attention, help improve your grades, increase your motivation and offers at your own pace learning.